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What is the Difference Between Commercial and Residential HVAC Systems?

Homes and businesses rely on their heating and air conditioning units to keep their rooms comfortable. While commercial and residential HVAC systems share similarities, there are several key differences between them. That is why it is important to choose an HVAC technician who’s familiar with the type of unit you have. The main differences between a commercial and residential HVAC system include:


Residential heating and cooling systems are usually located on the ground near the home. Commercial HVAC systems are most often placed on the roof of the building. The rooftop provides enough space for the HVAC unit. It also allows technicians to perform repairs and maintenance without disrupting business inside the building.

Size and Complexity

As you might expect, commercial heating systems are much larger than residential systems. A commercial HVAC unit must be able to heat or cool a larger space than a residential unit and serve a sizable number of people at once. Commercial HVAC systems have more complex drainage systems and ventilation.

Split vs. Packaged

Residential HVAC units are usually split systems. The evaporator and blower are located inside the home, while the condenser and the compressor are housed in an outdoor cabinet. In contrast, a commercial HVAC unit is one complete package housed in a single cabinet. While commercial units come as single packages, they use multiple thermostats to manage the temperature in different areas of the building.   

Standalone vs. Modular

A residential HVAC unit is standalone and requires the exterior and interior components to work together. If a significant issue arises, the entire system will need replacing. A commercial HVAC system is modular, which allows for greater flexibility. Modules can be added, removed, or repaired as needed.  

Minnesota Heating & Air Conditioning provides residential and commercial HVAC services throughout Minneapolis, Twin Cities, and the 7-County Metro Area. Contact us to schedule an appointment.